Babies burp. They swallow air when they nurse and then burp some of it back. This is pretty much standard and most parents of young babies know this to be fact. They know too, that some babies burp up a lot and that can still be ok. But there are times when spitting up becomes too much and a condition know as “gastro esophageal reflux disorder” or GERD, develops. GERD occurs when the muscles controlling the connection of the esophagus to the stomach are not tight enough. When the stomach contracts, its contents don’t entirely go on through the small intestine; instead some of them go back into the mouth by way of the esophagus. Sort of like eating in reverse! If this condition continues, medical intervention is necessary.
- Spitting up large amounts of food or milk ingested shortly after eating.
- Persistent spitting up after 2-3 months of age.
- Poor weight gain.
- Seeming to always be hungry,
- Crying as if in pain after burping up stomach contents.
- Persistent cough, wheeze or breathing difficulties.
See the Doctor if:
- If any of the above symptoms are noted, especially if weight gain is poor, cough or wheeze occurs and persistent crying is noted.
- For uncomplicated spitting up, elevating the baby’s head when placed in the crib (remember to always place your baby to sleep on her back) may help.
- Offering thickened feedings of milk or cereal may also help.
- Otherwise, the doctor may prescribe certain medicines and in obstinate cases, surgery may be necessary.
All babies spit or burp. That is a good thing. However, sometimes too much of a good thing is not really too good after all. If you have a baby who burps too much, ask the doctor to help. And keep a burp cloth handy!